NATO launches public debate on the Strategic Concept

  • 07 Jul. 2009 -
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  • Last updated: 03 Aug. 2009 10:07

NATO formally launched the process leading to the new Strategic Concept of the Alliance at a major security conference in Brussels. The Conference – taking place under the authority of the NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer - also marked the beginning of a dialogue with the wider public.

View of the room

The event, held at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels on the 7th July 2009, was attended by the NATO Secretary General designate, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and brought together a broad range of representatives from Allied and Partner governments, NATO structures, international organizations, civil society, including parliaments, the corporate sector, NGOs, think tanks, academia and the media.

The Secretary General gave the introductory address ( Other speakers included the former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright; the IAEA Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei; Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General James Mattis; former EU Commissioner António Vitorino; the Chairman of the EU Military Committee, General Henri Bentégeat; the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran; the Chief Executive Officer of ENI, Paolo Scaroni; and the Chairman of Lloyd’s of London, Lord Levene of Portsoken.

The aim of this Secretary General’s conference on July 7th was to formally launch the process leading to the new Strategic Concept and begin a dialogue between NATO and a wide range of experts from the strategic community as well as the broader public. The conference examined how the Alliance relates to the rest of the world, as part of a wider network of security actors. It also looked at NATO’s role in addressing new threats and challenges.

At the Summit in Strasbourg and Kehl on 4 April 2009, NATO Heads of State and Government tasked the Secretary General to develop a new NATO Strategic Concept. The current Strategic Concept was approved at the Washington Summit in 1999 (   The Summit also tasked the Secretary General to convene and lead a broad based group of qualified experts who will lay the ground for the new Alliance Strategic Concept. This will be done with the active involvement of the North Atlantic Council.

The Strategic Concept is the authoritative statement of the Alliance’s objectives and provides the highest level of guidance on the political and military means to be used in achieving them. It also describes NATO’s fundamental security tasks and is the basis for the implementation of Alliance policy as a whole. It is therefore, one of the key policy documents of the Alliance. The process leading to the new NATO Strategic Concept will engage all Allies in a major intellectual exercise and will examine all aspects of NATO in the run-up to the next summit.